• rituximab;
  • Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia;
  • lymphoma;
  • maintenance;
  • CD20


This study examined the outcome of 248 Waldenstrom macroglobulinaemia (WM) rituximab-naïve patients who responded to a rituximab-containing regimen. Eighty-six patients (35%) subsequently received maintenance rituximab (M-Rituximab). No differences in baseline characteristics, and post-induction categorical responses between cohorts were observed. The median rituximab infusions during induction was 6 for both cohorts; and 8 over a 2-year period for patients receiving M-Rituximab. Categorical responses improved in 16/162 (10%) of observed, and 36/86 (41·8%) of M-Rituximab patients respectively, following induction therapy (P < 0·0001). Both progression-free (56·3 vs. 28·6 months; P = 0·0001) and overall survival (Not reached versus 116 months; P = 0·0095) were longer in patients who received M-Rituximab. Improved progression-free survival was evident despite previous treatment status, induction with rituximab alone or in combination therapy (P ≤ 0·0001). Best serum IgM response was lower (P < 0·0001), and haematocrit higher (P = 0·001) for patients receiving M-Rituximab. Among patients receiving M-Rituximab, an increased number of infectious events were observed, but were mainly ≤grade 2 (P = 0·008). The findings of this observational study suggest improved clinical outcomes following M-Rituximab in WM patients who respond to induction with a rituximab-containing regimen. Prospective studies aimed at clarifying the role of M-Rituximab therapy in WM patients are needed to confirm these findings.